austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

So I'm hanging on to you as though eternity beckoned

So there's a new series of Doctor Who started up, and among other things The Onion AV Club ran a couple of pieces interviewing key players in the modern Who and talking about how to get into it and the various ways that nobody liked Paul McGann as The Doctor, except Colin Baker fans eager to have him be less a whipping boy, and Colin Baker hasn't got fans. The comment thread drew at least one query about what was a good place for a newcomer to jump onto the series with minimal confusion. A few people noted that this season looks to be pretty good: new show runner, new Doctor, new Companion, new theme cover, new Tardis, if you've heard of Daleks or Cybermen you probably have all the backstory you'll need and the rest will be provided by this magical literary technique named ``exposition'' wherein relevant information is provided to the viewer by some on-screen method.

But some weren't content with that; a few suggested the only logical place to start was with the first Christopher Eccleston episode and the revival of the series. Well, sure, since that's only, what, 52 hourlong regular episodes and a dozen or so oddball specials, Christmas and otherwise, to catch up on? The somewhat lame rationalization for taking on such a viewing workload: hey, if you like the series starting now you have to wait a whole week between episodes, whereas if you go back a few years you can just keep popping new episodes into the DVD player.

Inevitably some lunatic pointed out that it's ``not that hard'' to get all the available recorded Who from the entire run, which began shortly before England lost control of Calais for crying out loud. It's possible this was meant as sarcasm, a mode of expression completely undetectable online, but I have the dread suspicion the poster might have meant it. There's a slightly fanboyish tendency to imagine that if you don't take in the whole of something, then you Just Haven't Got Any Of It. I watched a Trek forum once debate what episode of Next Generation you had to watch to prepare for ``The Best Of Both Worlds'', the last time The Borg were interesting (and even that has weird dead zones in the story). I say, just, watch those episodes and you're fine, but would accept the idea of watching that one that introduced the Borg the previous season as warmup.

Then someone was not shouted down for suggesting that idiot wargames episode where the Ferengi lost their last shreds of dignity because, hey, that mentioned Borg, right? Oh, and you'd need to see the other Ferengi episodes to understand how pathetic it would be for the Enterprise to be captured by Ferengi, and oh, you better watch this slate of Wesley Crusher episodes so you understand why he's on the bridge and piloting the ship. Right. Because ``The Best Of Both Worlds'' is really ruined if you don't know the full history of the guy at the helm station who answers ``aye, sir'' to Picard's or Riker's orders.

I know I'm being curmudgeonly here, but, c'mon, fanboys, not every single moment of the thing is an irreplaceable treasure. When people ask for the essentials, pick the smallest set. It's possible to like something without drowning in it.

Trivia: Amelia Earhart gave the $1500 she earned from a cigarette endorsement deal in 1928 to support Admiral Richard Byrd's South Pole expedition. Earhart did not smoke. Source: Amelia Earhart: A Biography, Doris L Rich.

Currently Reading: A Brief History of The Paradox, Roy Sorensen.


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